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ARCHIVE - Passport Control 1-41 - MEDIAWAVE Art Workshops :: PASSPORT CONTROL 3 - Altai & Novosibirsk (Russia), 2007 :: 3, September, ALTAI

3, September, ALTAI
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The photos on this page were taken by Péter Szabó, a teacher of PASSPORT CONTROL Workshop.
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Jenő Hartyándi:

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If we had been ordinary tourists with their ordinary needs, nothing would have mattered. But we weren’t tourists and we didn’t have their expectations. That’s only why we were extremely shocked when we were guided to a real tourist site with all of its props: from the artificial waterfall, suspension bridge, ship-shaped bars, through dead and stuffed bear standing on the bank of the river, with whom you could even take a photo (for money, of course), to life-size mammoth bones, etc.

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Our first stop here was a yurta, functioning as a museum, where first we had to (actually it was Ella, who did) pick out money from our pockets at the entry, then, second, when we wanted to take photos. In charge of it, it turned out we met not only the director of the museum, but a saman in the same person, who shared his wisdom with us and told us such useful information, that eg. the

Altaic people settled down a long-long time ago and they used to live in yurtas in the ancient times, but not any more. Time passed by so quickly, our saman said goodbye to us, (finally he made an attempt to sell healing stuffs without any success), and was off by his Zsiguli to have lunch.

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In fact yurta is called „ail” in Altaic, and it can be considered as the descendant of the original yurta. The ail is a high, peak building with a shape of 4/6 or 8-angled.

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In the shops, besides a felt hat, we bought a map about the Altai region and back to our camp site we took a thorough look at it. We had to realize that we were only at the very edge of the region.

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I could remember my journey I took in 2003, we travelled more than 800 kms until we reached the hippis, who lived about 30-40 kms far away from the meeting of the four borderlines. The journey in 2003 was the hardest and the most adventurous one of the MEDIAWAVE’s. We departed from the capital of Kazakhstan, Alma Ata and travelled through the Kazakh-Chinese borderline to Tibet, then back to Beijing and finally home.

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So we were wondering above the map where we could find the Altaic people, when suddenly the man sitting the next table came to us, and informed us, that the Altaic inhabitants lived in the inner lands of the region in clans, and although each of their groups has different name, they’re altogether the Altaics, who isolated themselves strictly from the neighbouring Kazakhs and Mongolians.

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They belong to the Endoasian yellow race, with a language, which is part of the Turkish or Turk language.

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Back at home the „bánya” (Russian steam bath) cleared the air finally (some temper was engineered because of the differences between our wishes and the worries of Ella, who felt responsible for our safety and also felt danger in our possible journey towards the very inside of the Altai region). Fortunately, there’s really something about the “bánya”, this pleasant, Russian way of washing and regeneration, which is quite different from our sauna. While the sauna is dry, the Russian “bánya” is wet, with an almost 100% of humidity. In addition, getting beaten by birch branches is more than blood-exhilirating.

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